AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT


Mattel fought elusive cyber-thieves to get $3M out of China

WENZHOU, China (AP) — The email seemed unremarkable: a routine request by Mattel Inc.’s chief executive for a new vendor payment to China.

It was well-timed, arriving on Thursday, April 30, during a tumultuous period for the Los-Angeles based maker of Barbie dolls. Barbie was bombing, particularly overseas, and the CEO, Christopher Sinclair, had officially taken over only that month. Mattel had fired his predecessor.

The finance executive who got the note was naturally eager to please her new boss. She double-checked protocol. Fund transfers required approval from two high-ranking managers. She qualified and so did the CEO, according to a person familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter. He declined to reveal the finance executive’s name.

Satisfied, the executive wired over $3 million to the Bank of Wenzhou, in China.

Hours later, she mentioned the payment to Sinclair.

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Apple remains in dark on how FBI hacked iPhone without help

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI’s announcement that it mysteriously hacked into an iPhone is a public setback for Apple Inc., as consumers suddenly discover they can’t keep their most personal information safe. Meanwhile, Apple remains in the dark about how to restore the security of its flagship product.

The government said it was able to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, but it didn’t say how. That puzzled Apple software engineers — and outside experts — about how the FBI broke the digital locks on the phone without Apple’s help. It also complicated Apple’s job repairing flaws that jeopardize its software.

The Justice Department’s announcement that it was dropping a legal fight to compel Apple to help it access the phone also took away any obvious legal avenues Apple might have used to learn how the FBI did it.

Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym vacated her Feb. 16 order, which compelled Apple to help the FBI hack their phone, on Tuesday.

The Justice Department declined through a spokeswoman to comment Tuesday.

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Cruz backed by Wisconsin’s Walker; Trump manager charged

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (AP) — Donald Trump tried Tuesday to focus on Wisconsin, where he was making his first visit ahead of its key primary as controversy cast yet another shadow over his campaign.

Trump told supporters at a rally that “if we win Wisconsin, it’s pretty much over,” noting his significant delegate lead over rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Trump held the rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, hometown of House Speaker Paul Ryan — who last week called for more civility in politics even as the Republican presidential race grew more personal and nasty.

Trump arrived in Wisconsin fending off another controversy that eclipsed his message and well as those of his rivals, all of whom converged on the state a week from the pivotal vote.

Trump’s campaign manager was charged with misdemeanor battery in Florida on Tuesday over an altercation with a reporter earlier this month, prompting Cruz to accuse the billionaire front-runner of fostering a culture of “abusive behavior.”

The news overshadowed Trump’s efforts to make gains in Wisconsin ahead of its April 5 primary as Cruz lured support from some of the state’s most influential voices. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a former GOP presidential contender, endorsed Cruz Tuesday, saying he believes the Texas senator is best positioned to win the GOP nomination and defeat presumed general election rival Hillary Clinton.

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Police charge Trump campaign manager with battery

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Police charged Donald Trump’s campaign manager with simple battery Tuesday as a videotaped altercation with a reporter transformed what was another messy campaign sideshow into a criminal court summons. Trump decried the charges.

Jupiter, Florida, police determined that probable cause existed to file a criminal complaint against the Republican front-runner’s most trusted political adviser, Corey Lewandowski, for an altercation that took place after a campaign appearance earlier in the month. Police on Tuesday morning issued Lewandowski a notice to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge, which carries up to a year in jail.

The unexpected development injects a court battle into an already contentious Republican primary season just a week before a high-stakes election in Wisconsin. It came on a day that all five presidential contenders campaigned in the state, overshadowing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s endorsement of Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders’ push to narrow Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead.

Speaking to reporters on his airplane in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump vowed to stand by his campaign manager and lashed out at the young female reporter who conveyed the incident to police.

“How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?” the New York businessman charged.

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Brussels attack victims came from Belgium, worldwide

Victims of the attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway included commuters heading to work and travelers starting long-anticipated vacations. They came from dozens of nations to a city that’s home to the European Union, NATO and other international institutions.

Among the confirmed dead:

James Cain learned only last Tuesday that his daughter had married Alex Pinczowski. Two days later, he learned that Alex and his sister Sascha, Dutch siblings who lived in New York, had both died in the Brussels airport suicide bombing.

As Cain and his daughter Cameron hunted for news about Alex and Sascha following the deadly blasts in the Belgian capital, Cameron told her father she had married Alex in 2013.

On Tuesday, Cain called the news of his daughter’s marriage “the bright spot in our otherwise anguishing week.”

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North Carolina governor’s race intensifying over LGBT rights

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina governor’s race has suddenly become a referendum on discrimination.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, seeking re-election in what’s anticipated to be one of the nation’s most heated and expensive campaigns, is doubling down on a sweeping law he signed last week preventing local governments from protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity when they use public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants. People also would have to use multi-stall bathrooms that match their birth certificates at state agencies and public schools and universities.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, the governor’s Democratic challenger, announced Tuesday that his office won’t defend this “national embarrassment” against a federal lawsuit filed by two transgender men, a lesbian law professor and civil rights groups.

“We are here because the governor has signed statewide legislation that puts discrimination into the law,” Cooper announced. Citing criticism from a growing list of major corporations and sports organizations, he said: “It will set North Carolina’s economy back if we don’t repeal it.”

McCrory complained this week that a well-coordinated national campaign is “distorting the truth,” and in a video Tuesday accused Cooper of “inventing conflict that simply doesn’t exist” to justify his argument to refuse to defend the law.

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Hijack drama ends in Cyprus with arrest of ‘unstable’ man

LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — A man described as “psychologically unstable” hijacked a flight Tuesday from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff.

As more became known about the motive of the 59-year-old Egyptian who was taken into custody, authorities characterized the commandeering of the EgyptAir jetliner not as an act of terrorism but more like a “family feud” with his former wife.

The aviation drama ended peacefully on the tarmac of Larnaca airport on the island nation’s southern coast with the surrender of a man identified by Cypriot and Egyptian authorities as Seif Eddin Mustafa.

The incident was likely to renew concerns about Egyptian airport security months after a Russian passenger plane was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula in a bombing claimed by the Islamic State group.

But Egyptian officials stressed that their security measures were not to blame, and there was praise for the EgyptAir flight crew. Pilot Amr Gamal told The Associated Press: “We rescued all the people and the man got arrested.”

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Rubio working to play a role at GOP national convention

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marco Rubio is working to play a role at the Republican National Convention even as his rivals scramble to pick off convention delegates claimed by the Florida senator before he suspended his campaign.

Rubio has sent letters to Republican officials in states where he has won delegates, charging he wants to keep his delegates, even though he’s no longer an active candidate.

Representatives from Rubio’s network said the former candidate wants to retain his delegates in order to keep his options open in the coming months. Campaigns are preparing for the possibility of a contested national convention in July that could feature an intense fight for every available delegate.

The Rubio representatives spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about Rubio’s intentions. The Florida senator suspended his campaign in mid-March, but not before accumulating 171 delegates, a trove that could help Republican front-runner Donald Trump secure the nomination — or help stop him.

Rubio, an aggressive Trump critic, could play a significant role at the national convention should he retain influence over a significant number of delegates.

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Man convicted in 1957 killing of girl declares innocence

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) — A former security guard serving a life sentence in the 1957 slaying of a 7-year-old Illinois girl made an emotional statement declaring his innocence and pleaded with a judge Tuesday to consider his bid for freedom as soon as possible, citing a prosecutor’s scathing review of the investigation that landed him in prison.

With his legs and wrists shackled, Jack McCullough spoke up from a defense table when it became clear that the judge — while agreeing to start a process that could lead to a vacated conviction and a new trial — was going to adjourn the 20-minute hearing without setting the 76-year-old free.

“Your honor, I’ve been in prison locked up now for almost five years. I’m innocent, and I can prove I’m innocent,” McCullough said in a weak voice from behind a defense table, clearly disappointed. “There has to be an end to this somewhere.”

McCullough’s stepdaughter said she knew from his recent letters and from his demeanor in court that he believed the judge might order him to be released immediately.

“He thought he was going home,” Janey O’Connor said after the hearing.

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Archaeologists digging at Malcolm X’s boyhood home in Boston

BOSTON (AP) — Archeologists are digging at a boyhood home of Malcolm X in an effort to uncover more about the slain black rights activist’s early life as well as the property’s long history, which possibly includes Native American settlement.

The two-week archaeological dig began Tuesday outside a two-and-a-half story home in Boston’s historically black Roxbury neighborhood that was built in 1874.

City Archaeologist Joseph Bagley said his office chose to dig up the site because it’s likely that work will be needed soon to shore up the foundation of the vacant and run down structure.

“This is kind of a now-or-never dig,” he said. “If we don’t do this, the site will be destroyed. We can’t afford to wait.”

Among Tuesday’s early finds was a large piece of fine porcelain that Bagley says was likely part of a dish set owned by the family of Malcolm X’s sister, which still owns the house.